The Ma’an Television Network, part of Ma’an Network, is currently the recipient of a €427,200 three-year grant (2016-2019) from the European Union’s (EU) Peacebuilding Initiative for a project entitled “Media for Change: Leveraging Media Initiatives to Promote Participatory Engagement in the Peace Process.”
Ma’an Television Network is also currently the recipient of another three-year grant (2015-2018) from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for a project entitled “What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme.” As reported by The Guardian, the grant amounts to £730,000.
On August 1, 2017, Ma’an Network published an article in Arabic entitled “Song in Hebrew in Defense of Al Aqsa Mosque,” featuring a video by the same name. The video shows footage of terrorist attacks committed against Israelis, accompanied by a Hebrew song with the lyrics “I will clean my country of every Jew / I will strive for it with all my being” (NGO Monitor translation). The article reports that the video “promises to clean Palestine of Jews, and protests against Israeli security measures,” with Ma’an adding commentary that “Israel deteriorated the situation in Al Aqsa mosque when it installed metal detectors in the entrance to Al Aqsa compound” (NGO Monitor translation).
Ma’an uploaded the video to one of its YouTube accounts, news maan, prompting widespread condemnation on social media.
Subsequently on August 2, 2017, Ma’an published an English-language article in its defense titled “Israelis wrongfully accuse Ma’an of producing video advocating for anti-Israeli violence.” This second article again did not condemn the video, merely claiming that “Ma’an did not produce the video, but had only written about its existence,” and accusing “Israel supporters” of “showing the video out of context and claiming that it was created and condoned by Ma’an.”
The article was updated an hour after it was first uploaded with a clarification that “Both the article and the video have since been removed from Ma’an online platforms.” The link to the original article in Arabic was likewise removed (see appended screenshots). To date, Ma’an has neither condemned the video, nor apologized for featuring it uncritically.
This is not the first time that the European government-funded Ma’an Network has promoted antisemitic and/or violent content. Members of the European Parliament have alerted the European Commission to this problem via parliamentary inquiries on three prior occasions, highlighting instances of glorification of terrorism and Holocaust denial. In the three replies, the Commission sought to avoid responsibility, stating that “The EU does not provide global funding to NGOs but provides grants supporting specific actions under programmes with clearly-defined objectives.”
NGO Monitor has sent letters to the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and UK Minister of State for the Department for International Development Rory Stewart, detailing this case.